Business Line
May 13, 2003.

Rigid product norms stem herbal exports


MUMBAI, May 12

Export potential of the Indian system of medicines such as Ayurveda and Siddha is although very high, issues such as standardisation of products and lack of relevance to current therapy areas put its share in the $62-billlion market to just 0.3 per cent.

The US and western Europe compise a significant portion (75 per cent) of the global herbal market followed by China at three per cent. “During the year 2002, if one compared the export of herbal drugs between India and China, India is way behind at Rs 874.1 crore, while China exported herbal drugs worth Rs 9,600 crore,” said Dr.Gangadharan, Vice-President(Technical), Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, at a meet organised by the Export-Import Bank of India on ‘Exporting Healthcare – A Roadmap and a Compendium".

The traditional medicine market in India is dominated by Ayurveda which comprises about 84 percent, homeopathy consists of 14 per cent, while Unani and Siddha account for the remaining.

However, the industry is highly unorganised, especially the Ayurvedic and Siddha industries.

Industry experts are of the opinion that the Indian traditional medicine industry should look at standardising the products batch wise, invest in research and development and use modern diagonstic gadgets for documentation and communication among others.

Dr Muhammed Majeed, Managing Director, SAMI Labs said,” The Indian system of medicine has a wealth of knowledge dating back to almost 5,000 years, but the government and industry does not seem to have manpower, know-how or resources to tackle the ever-increasing market”.

The global herbal market is expected to grow to $5 trillion by the year 2050 with the current demand growing at a rate of 10-15 per cent per annum. Knowledge management and research, therefore become areas of focus.

“The research projects must be based on relevant therapy areas keeping in mind the global trends for Indian companies to succeed in exporting traditional medicine,” said Dr. Narendra S. Bhatt, ayurvedic consultant and member of the governing body of Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha, Government of India.